2013 – The Blue Room's Year in Music

I’m excited. The Blue Room has discovered Spotify. It promises to be the perfect tool. It hasn’t arrived yet. Our computer is in dry-dock. When it’s back a family boffin will install it allowing the listening of whole albums legally, rather than just snippets. Thus a firmer base for the purchase of music ‘discoveries’ can be deduced. The Blue Room’s scribe, me, loves to find new stuff. I would like to think I am not your typical 60 plus year old stuck in a musical time warp of the musical heroes from my pomp – such as it was. And I still purchase actual CD albums – yes, I know, this techno-ignoramous is a throwback to another age compared to the hipster generation, but I still value having the music in my hand rather than somewhere up in the clouds.
And in 2013, even after the passing of the years since I bought Sgt Peppers way back in 1967, the beat of rock/country still flows through me. This year purchasing and playing new music has still enhanced my world. I know, as befits my age, I am not really up with the latest musical wonders – but my sources – ‘Uncut’ magazine, my BTD (Beautiful Talented Daughter), Paul, Caleb, Troy et al, all of whom recommend what they think I’d like, knowing my parameters pretty well. I’d like to think that I am reasonably eclectic – you may scoff but judge for yourself contemplating my list of the best of the last twelve months below. They are the albums I genuinely love – the ones that have been on high rotation on my music machine during the year. So here you go, presenting the Blue Room’s top albums of 2013:-

10. ‘Old Socks’ – Eric Clapton – Old Slowhand was probably just going through the motions recording this – I’ll grant you that. But as I can’t get enough of God, these renderings of some hoary covers will have to do.

09. ‘The Low Highway’ – Steve Earl – Here the sexiest man in alt country – BTD’s words, not mine – has produced his best for a while. This much married troubadour still has the fire.

08. ‘Imitations’ – Mark Lanegan – Another covers collection delivered in that voice of gravel – a departure from his attractive collaborations with Isobel Campbell.

07. ‘Even the Stars are a Mess’ – Whitley – The year’s most infectious song (Track 2 – ‘TV’) surrounded by plenty of other quality product. He’s been away to find himself but now he’s back with a good’un.

05. ‘English Rain’ – Gabrielle Aplin – ‘Discovered’ by yours truly on a UK talk show, the CD was cheap in JBs and I fell in love with it. And what a beautiful young lady to boot!

04. ‘My Favourite Picture of You’ – Guy Clark – The old songwriters’ songwriter’s paen to his life partner who is no more – heart-wrenching.

03. ‘The Beast in its Tracks’ – Josh Ritter – His last was a tad disappointing, but he is back with a bang and how!

02. ‘All the Little Lights’ – Passenger – a voice to love (me) or hate – but for my money two classic tracks with classy supports.

01. ‘The Great Country Songbook’ – Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey – this unlikely hit has now morphed into the year’s most controversial release thanks to Christmas Grinch John Williamson. It’s a buoyant collection of old chestnuts from two knockabout lads having a great time in the studio, as well as live. It took us all back to other places and other times. Only a crusty old curmudgeon would dis its success.

A couple of this year’s hopefuls just failed to make the cut. I’ve only been in possession of Nick Cave’s ‘Push the Sky Away’ for a few days but I am currently obsessed – sonorously magnificent. Neko Case’s ‘Worst Things Get……’ and Camera Obscura’s ‘Desire Lines’ were the best of the rest. The Hunters and Collectors tribute ‘Cauldron’ is well worth a listen, as is John Fogerty’s set of Duets recreating CCR’s hits with various folks – ‘Wrote a Song for Everyone’. The Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell collaboration ‘Old Yellow Moon’ stands up, as does Laura Marling’s ‘Once I was an Eagle’. Kim Richey (‘Thorn in My Heart’) and Patty Griffen (‘American Kid’) also had fine issues.

.The-Great-Country-Songbook.

So, over to you BTD, as well as anyone else up for the exercise.

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